Pennsylvania is a no-fault state for auto insurance, which means insurance companies are responsible for their policyholder’s medical bills, regardless of who caused the accident. 

Drivers in Pennsylvania are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) for this reason. However, if you sustain a serious injury resulting in death, a severe impairment, or permanent disfiguration, there’s an exception. If your injuries meet that threshold, you can sue the other driver. 

Initially, drivers’ ability to sue for serious injuries caused a high number of small claims and increased the cost of premiums, so state legislators in Pennsylvania came up with a solution. Drivers in PA can choose to pay more for full tort coverage, which gives them the right to sue for any amount, or pay less for limited tort coverage, which restricts their right to sue. 

Full tort coverage in Pennsylvania certainly provides more protection in the event of a serious injury, and it doesn’t have to cost an exorbitant price. Use Insurify to compare the cost of full tort and limited tort coverage options across insurance companies. It’s easy to toggle between choices and compare personalized rates from up to 20 insurance providers so you can get the best deal for the coverage you need.  

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Full Tort vs. Limited Tort in Pennsylvania

A full tort insurance policy allows you to sue the other driver, assuming they were at fault, for pain and suffering in addition to monetary damages. There’s no limit to the amount you can sue for. Still, you must sustain a serious injury in order to bring a lawsuit since Pennsylvania is a no-fault state. Full tort policies are typically much more expensive than limited tort policies

If you are seriously injured in a car accident and have limited tort insurance coverage, you can still sue for your actual costs, such as medical bills, property damage, and lost wages, up to the limits of the other driver’s policy. If you choose the limited tort option, you won’t be able to take the other driver to court for additional compensation for your pain and suffering. 

These insurance options are specific to the state of Pennsylvania. Other states are either tort states or no-fault states. Most no-fault states still allow you to sue the at-fault driver for serious injuries, but there are typically specific requirements and limits to how much you can collect. 

Full tort or limited tort—which is better?

If you can afford full tort coverage, it’s definitely the better of the two options. If you are seriously injured in an automobile accident with limited tort coverage, you can sue to have your medical bills and other expenses covered. But what if you experience chronic pain or permanent disfigurement as a result of your injuries? Limited tort coverage won’t allow you to seek compensation for your pain and suffering. 

If you have full tort coverage, on the other hand, a personal injury attorney can help you recoup money above the other driver’s coverage limits. If your quality of life is adversely impacted after a car crash or your wage loss goes on indefinitely, a full tort car insurance policy can ensure you get more than just your out-of-pocket expenses covered. Just keep in mind that you’ll pay more for a full tort automobile insurance policy

Some drivers may not want to sue someone for damages above their coverage limits. That’s because hiring a law firm to take the other driver to court could mean causing financial hardship for that individual, and most car accidents are just that—accidents. 

If you wouldn’t want to take another person to court after a motor vehicle accident, it doesn’t make sense for you to purchase full tort coverage. As an alternative, you could raise the limits of your personal injury protection or medical payments coverage, or you could purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This will allow you to collect compensation for pain and suffering from your own insurance company without having to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. 

Make Sure You’re Always Covered 

It’s illegal to drive without car insurance in Pennsylvania, so you’ll need to choose between full tort and limited tort coverage. Regardless of which coverage option you choose, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the best deal. You may also want to play around with different coverage limits and deductible amounts to find insurance premiums that fit your budget. 

It can be time-consuming to compare car insurance quotes if you have to enter your information on different insurance companies’ websites. With Insurify, it takes just a few minutes to see customized rates from multiple insurance providers. 

You’ll just need to enter a few details about your vehicle and driving record to get started. From there, you can view personalized quotes for various coverage amounts. Check to see how your eligibility for discounts reduces your rate, compare the difference between full tort and limited tort coverage, and adjust your coverage limits to find the perfect insurance policy for you. 


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Updated April 29, 2021

Lindsay Frankel is a full-time freelance writer specializing in personal finance and insurance topics. Her work has been featured in publications such as LendingTree, The Balance,, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, and FinanceBuzz. For the past year, she has written about car insurance for Insurify.